Kent working to mitigate backlog of trash collection due to snow, out-of-state strike

KING COUNTY, Wash. — The city of Kent said it met with Republic Services on Friday to talk about the steps that it will take to catch up on a backlog of garbage collection, which was halted by a blast of snow and then an out-of-state strike that stretched to the Puget Sound.

On Wednesday, sanitation workers on strike at Republic Services in San Diego, California, extended their picket line to four Republic Services facilities in Seattle, Bellevue, Lynnwood, and Kent.

Over 300 western Washington-based Teamsters Local 542 union members, who work at those four facilities, refused to cross the picket line — in support of the more than 250 workers in San Diego who went on strike Dec. 17, 2021.

The city of Kent said it has been discussing the ongoing interruption with Republic daily.

In an update, the city said it understands customers’ frustration and is working to remedy the situation.

“It is our expectation that customers who have paid for trash, recycling, and yard waste collection services receive that service in a timely manner,” the city said to residents on its website.

Officials said Republic will secure self-haul dropoff locations for next week and negotiate bill credits for customers.

Those locations will be on the East and West hills and a valley location as soon as possible with as many dates as possible until service has been caught up.

In addition, Republic will collect waste for more hours during the day, up to 10 p.m. and up to two weeks.

Other items included in the talks are as follows:

— Authorization for Republic to modify what materials are collected each day.

— Negotiation of bill credits to customers.

— Additional customer service improvements include ample notice of self-haul drop-off times and locations.

On Friday, the city opened access to a temporary drop-off location at ShoWare Center, which several hundred people used.

The city reminded residents that they can drop off their blue bin recycling at King County Transfer Station locations at no charge. However, a small fee is charged for garbage disposal.

In the city of Renton, where Republic Services is also used for waste collection, Mayor Armondo Pavone said he shares the same frustration and discontentment as residents with the delay in services there.

“Please know I’m working with city staff to vet out all options to address this situation and to get your bills adjusted accordingly,” the mayor said in a release.

Pavone said locations have been opened where residents can take their garbage for free.